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January 18, 2018
PARENT GROUPS PROMOTE FAMILY ‘VICTORIES’
Mother of two Armangul was tired of the gadgets. Her 12-year-old son, in particular, would hardly lift his head from the screen. “The boy is entering adolescence. It has its difficulties. He’s a child of new technology - gadgets are replacing everything in everyday life. Of course, we agreed that he could only play after he does his homework, but then it was done hastily, and through tears.” Armangul tried every way she knew to motivate her son to take his studies more seriously. “I would try to persuade him, yell at him, or negotiate with him.”
The Parent Group at her son’s school, Gymnasium #83, encouraged her to change her tactics. “The Parent Group has been a blessing. I realized that I am not the only one with this problem of how to get through adolescence. They shared their experiences and I adopted them. They learned something from me, and I learned something from them.” But Armangul still worried that her son wouldn’t be prepared for upcoming exams. One of the strategies she adopted from the Parent Group was to highlight role models for her son. “I started to make an example of his sister, who achieves the goals she’s set out for herself. But I did it in a subtle way - I held back a little, so as not to overdo it.”
Armangul says one of the biggest lessons she learned from the Parent Group was to be more patient with her children. “Of course, there were many conversations, and it all happened gradually…I may have made mistakes along the way, but we can still correct mistakes, as my son is still a child. But we’ll correct them patiently, without yelling, without criticism.” She reports that her son received high marks on his exams, which she considers a “victory” during this difficult period of early adolescence.
“Every parent thinks that his/her children are the best. And I am no exception. Thank you for helping us to learn to deal with this stressful period!”
The Parent Group at Gymnasium #83 was created as part of a pilot professional development program for school psychologists and support staff, and is coordinated by the Women’s Leadership Fund as part of their TEENS initiative. The program emphasizes the importance of the ‘Parent Group’ method in schools in order to strengthen the first line of defense against teen suicide – the immediate family. Following completion of the pilot phase, the program model will be sent to the Ministry of Education and Science for final approval and adoption.
TEENS is made possible by support from the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia’s Good Governance Initiative Fund, with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).